When it comes to buying a pet, you want to make sure you have a rough idea of what you are getting yourself into.
Its like with a dog; you know you have to be around a lot of the time to train and look after it, as well as be active and take it for walks and jabs and all that malarkey!
Well people want to know the same for hamsters so I have devised an easy guide to what owning this pet requires, who its good for and all that kinda stuff. This is based on Syrian hamster, there are differences if you are looking to buy a dwarf hamster!
So get a pen out and take some notes!
- Patience (Hamsters can sometimes take a few weeks to get tame and that’s with regular handling so as long as you are persistent with holding your hamster then there wont be any problems here!)
- Energy (Hamsters love to be played with so you need to be enthusiastic and have lots of energy to do so! This is why hamsters are perfect for children as kids always have lots of energy)
- Cleanliness (Hamsters will lick, chew and nibble anything they can get their hands on so making sure they have a clean environment to explore is essential. Chemically cleaned surfaces can seriously damage little rodents because as they clean themselves they transfer all the germs from their feet onto their mouths and all over their body. Pet-safe disinfectants are widely available)
- A small amount of space(As long as they have a suitable cage and an exersise wheel or ball to run around in, they will be happy! You dont even need much floor space because sealed-up-wheels are available to put your pet in if you dont have the space for a ball.)
- Food and water (Water bottles should, ideally, be changed daily and food topped up if needed over the week. Replacement of hoarded food is necessary but thats only to stop mould growing! As long as you can provide these, then you are good to go! The standard hamster food is approximately £2.39 for a whole kilogram so its doesnt need to be bourght weekly!)
- Attention (Hamsters are playful creatures and need to be handled as often as possible to break boredom and keep them healthy and active! Again, this is why hamsters are perfect for children!)
- An exercise wheel/ball (This is the most important thing for your hamster. They need to be stimulated – how would you like to be cooped up in a cage with nothing to do all day! Wheels are well known for being noisy at night so keeping your hamster in a separate room is recommended if you want a good night sleep!)
NOTE: Hamsters tend not to need pet insurance because they have a short life expectancy and also because the more common ailments are cheap enough to solve without.
Things to consider:
- Have you got the space?
This isnt just for a hamster cage itself, but remember you need somewhere to keep all the bedding/sawdust/food whilst its not in use as well as a small amount of space for a ball.
- Will you still be around in 3 years time?
For Syrian hamsters life expectancy is between 2-3 years. Any older than that and you have done VERY well indeed! Will you be around in 3 years time to still be looking after this pet?
- Can you afford to buy food/bedding/unexpected vet bills?
Making sure you have a little money left over before payday is essential. If your little hamster needs a trip to the vet can you afford to pay the vet bill on top of all your other spendings?
- Paper Bedding (Optional Extras include soft stuff)
- A toy of some kind
- A pet safe cleaner
Hamster prices vary up and down the country but here in the UK, you can buy them from around £9.50.
Still unsure if a hamster is right for you?
- They only take up a small amount of room
- They are friendly and brilliant for kids once tamed
- They are cheap to maintain and care for
- They are easy to look after
- Dont need supervision during the day so can happily go to school/work
- They love to be played with
- They dont need to be taken out on walks in the rain
- They teach responsibility to young people
- They are a good starter pet if you’ve never owned a pet before
- They are superduper cute
- They dont need to be insured
- They have a short life expectancy (2-3 years, suppose this could also be a positive)
- They need to be tamed
- They can bite
- They can be noisy at night – running on a wheel or gnawing the bars etc.
- They can poop or wee on you (what animal isnt that true for though?)
- They are masterful escape artists so need supervision whenever outside of their cage
- Need cleaning out weekly